Posted by Victoria Parkinson on Jul 30, 2020 9:27:43 AM


There are many challenges for businesses right now, I mean, who had ALL THIS in their five-year business plan back in 2015?!

Keeping your people safe as they return to work is probably starting to bubble up to the top of your post lockdown thinking. It is more complicated than simply sending out an email inviting everyone to clock in on Monday, isn’t it?

Those that are planning a phased return to the workplace are finding that that is not as simple as it sounds. Most offices and work spaces are deliberately designed to yield a maximum return in terms of productivity per square metre and hot desking has become such a mainstay of how we work that even returning half a team from furlough is proving to be a conundrum.

Furthermore, some of the businesses with whom we have spoken are not planning to reopen their offices at all, instead preferring to improve the “work from home” options for their employees. Working from home has not been the upheaval they’d imagined and while they recognise that makeshift offices set up on kitchen tables are not a sustainable option in the long term, they are investigating ways of providing employees with work from home spaces that can be installed in colleagues’ back yards or gardens.

Fortunately, there is a solution that works for all the above.

Work From Home Space cabins.


Firstly, let’s take the businesses that are not planning to return all their staff. They are far from alone in their thinking.

Bruce Daisley, the author of The Joy of Work, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme, “Unfortunately, we might get misty-eyed about it but I think the office in the form it used to be is probably now a thing of the past”.

Daisley spoke of a conversation he’d had with someone at a “major media outlet” who said, “We used to have 1,400 people coming into this office every day. For the last eight weeks we've had 30 people and the product hasn't changed.”

He added, “Anyone who thinks things are going to go back to the way things were - is bananas."

This may be true, but can you run a business with your employees squeezing a laptop on their kitchen table? It works for a while but can it work as a long term strategy? Anyway, employees need some work/life balance and some delineation between work and home.

The solution may be to create a Work From Home Space in their yard or on their driveway.

A Work From Home Space cabin is cost effective, simple to order and install and, perhaps above all, easy to move again in the future. It would be irksome to install a garden office for an employee to work from home in, only to have them hand in their notice! A Work From Home Space cabin can be easily lifted and transported to the garden of a new employee, or elsewhere, should this happen, it’s a truly flexible option that can adapt with your needs.


Let’s now consider those planning a phased return to work.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) are encouraging businesses to adopt a three stage test before bringing back employees: 1 - Is it essential?; 2 - Is it safe?; 3. Is it mutually agreed?

This third step may be the most difficult.

Rightly, many employees are wary about leaving the safety of their own home, some I know are anxious about how they’ll commute in, for example. If you and your staff reach an impasse on this step, a Work From Home Space cabin could help break the deadlock.

Peter Cheese, the CIPD Chief Executive, has stated that “Even with those measures in place the return to work must still be gradual so that social distancing can be maintained.”


Employers are telling us that the solution must fit the following criteria:

1 – Keep staff safe and socially distanced in the workplace.

Most employers that we are talking with have offices maximised to operate at full capacity. Hot desking, open plan offices, desks in long double rows and just enough room to wheel out your chair without playing dodgems with the colleague behind you are just some of the challenges to be overcome if firms are to keep employees two metres apart.

2 – Be cost effective in the short term.

Simply in business has been a challenge for a lot of companies during this time. You will have made some tough decisions just to make sure that there is a business for furloughed employees to come back to and for most SMEs cash flow is now a problem. Spending has been cut, costs have been trimmed and any measures implemented to facilitate a return to work must reflect this new reality.

3 – Be flexible in the mid to long term.

This time will pass. There will be a time again when we shake hands with clients, high five our colleagues on winning a big order and hug our work family when it is their birthday. Hopefully, two years from now a Zoom call will be a handy option rather than an absolute necessity. The point is, that any solution you put in place now, to allow your workers to return, needs to be flexible. Building an extra floor or adding an extension to your premises, even if you can afford it, could leave you lumbered with unneeded extra capacity when ‘normality’ returns.

Work From Home Space offers a solution that delivers on all these key criteria.

1 – Keep staff safe and socially distanced in the workplace.

You can buy our new cabins in units that deliver safe working space dependent upon the number of colleagues that will need to use it. For instance, if you have twelve employees but having distanced their desks you can only accommodate half of them, using our easy to follow plan, you could have two of our three person cabins delivered and installed to your car park ready for your employees to return the same day!

2 – Be cost effective in the short term.

Few businesses have the financial flexibility for major overhauls of office space right now. When money is tight, chief finance officers (CFOs) understandably look to cut capital expenditure (capex) and according to broker Peel Hunt COVID-19 is responsible for a £23bn axing of CapEx. This has a knock-on effect, as one company’s reduced capex leads to a reduction in turnover for many other companies.

At Work From Home Space, we’re up front with the price of our cabins on our website and you can cost according to your need without having to measure, just work out how many you have to accommodate, one person, two people, three people, and so on, and choose cabins accordingly.

This allows you have to greater control over your costs as you implement your return to work plan.

3 – Be flexible in the mid to long term.

Work From Home Space cabins are designed to be flexible to meet your needs now and in the future. The cabins are constructed, in our purpose-built UK factory, to make the delivery and installation process as hassle free as possible. What can be installed with such ease can be re-purposed one day with equally little fuss. You may, in the future, decide to sell on your cabin as your needs change or use it differently, perhaps move it to another site where it might be used as a washroom or break out space.


Beyond these “employer must haves”, the Government has issued advice too.

Nickie Elenor, Founder Solicitor at HR Specialists Guardian Law, told us, “The government has issued specific guidance on how to operate in 8 different types of workplace but, wherever staff are working from, there are 5 key steps to protecting the health and safety of staff:

  1. Carry out a risk assessment
  2. Define hygiene standards and procedures
  3. Help people to work from home
  4. Maintain 2M social distancing where possible
  5. Where social distancing is not possible, manage the transmission risk”

We asked Nickie what she thought would most likely happen is an employee caught Coronavirus because they couldn’t socially distance at work?

She told us, “That’s a juicy question! I think this is going to be at the root of many disputes over the forthcoming months. Employers will be scrutinised in terms of the H&S measures they put in place and whether they were adequate and enforced in practice.”

“Likely HR headaches will be whether employees:

● are entitled to full pay if their sickness absence is ‘caused’ by their employer;

● can make valid personal injury claims;

● would be entitled to resign and claim constructive unfair dismissal if the employer tries to force them to work when they don’t think it is safe to do so,

● will be successful in claiming an automatic unfair dismissal after raising coronavirus associated H&S concerns with their employer (whistleblowing)”


Nickie’s conclusion, “This is certainly a challenging time to be an employer and the expectations are high on them to take adequate steps to safeguard employee health and safety. Employers need to review the guidance, follow the 5 steps I outlined earlier, consult with staff about the changes, document their processes and keep them under review.

A challenging time indeed.

A Work From Home Space cabin, situated either at your business or at the homes of your employees can deliver the flexibility your business needs and help you to address all the of the issues raised here help your colleagues feel confident that they will be safe.

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